Now availableHardball Times Baseball Annual 2013, with 300 pages of great content. It's also available on Amazon and Kindle. Read more about it here.
And here's the full roster.
Most Recent Comments
Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 8, Vol. II (4)
Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 8, Vol. III (3)
Strength of schedule: Adjusting pitcher values (2)
The daily grind: 5-22-13 (10)
The daily grind: 5-23-13 (5)
All content on this site (including text, graphs, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
THT's Fantasy Archives
Friday, August 17, 2012
The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice based on my every-morning waiver wire search. I welcome advice to help make this column more effective. Ownership rates are from Yahoo!
The Fanduel picks are a mixture of Daily League specific advice and information for the more typical fantasy owner.
Those in leagues with same-day moves should refer back to yesterday’s table.
The Fanduel Daily League Players of the Day are:
Pitcher (to start): Zach McAllister against the A's is one of the better match-ups available on the wire at this time. Ross Detwiler against the Mets isn't a bad consolation prize.
Pitcher (bum): Tommy Hunter has a tough match-up against the Tigers lineup.
Vance Worley has bone chips in his elbow and shows. He's simply not "on" with his location or pitch movement. His two-seamer is the only reason he gets through major league outings and it's not been moving as much as when he's healthy.
Three of the top five bums also pitch tonight—Jeff Francis, Nick Blackburn, and Ross Ohlendorf. They face the Marlins, Mariners and Twins respectively, but they'll probably still give up bunches of runs.
Hitter (power): Besides the common names, Eric Thames, Brandon Belt and Carlos Lee are interesting power plays.
Hitter (speed): For speed, look to Trayvon Robinson, Quintin Berry and Eric Young.
Patrick Corbin is looking like the top get for the day. He takes on the Astros' Triple-A affiliate.
Sometimes ownership patterns befuddle me. Plenty of pitchers like Bartolo Colon are heavily owned, but he weighs in at the 29 percent level. In any case, he faces a mediocre Indians lineup, so take a shot.
He's 51 percent owned, but a lot of savvy fantasy owners are afraid to touch Scott Diamond and his non-existent strikeout rate. But he's up against the Mariners tomorrow so that should work out to be a playable match-up.
The Reds and Cubs have a double header, but the second game is listed as TBA. In addition to the listed Reds players, you could try Brett Jackson or David DeJesus who I did not list above due to the match-up against Cueto.
In addition to double header guys, any of the A's hitters against Corey Kluber make sense. Andruw Jones is up against a resurgent Jon Lester and Dayan Viciedo has as good a chance as any to pop a bomb against Bruce Chen.
Jason Motte blew the save yesterday, but there's nothing to worry about here.
Grant Balfour looks to be re-taking the closer job in Oakland. Nothing to get excited about unless you are desperate for the saves.
Frank Francisco had another ugly outing, but it was a non-save situation. Look for Jon Rauch or Bobby Parnell to get the next save opportunity.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 5:45am
Recap: Tyler Greene likes playing for the Astros, apparently, and post-recommendation, appropriately homered, stole a base, and got seven hits in a span of a week... The speculative recs of John Lannan, Javier Lopez and Rudy Owens have hardly paid off yet, but stash those names as potential helpers down the stretch... Jean Segura is holding his own thus far, riding a six-game hitting streak into Friday at this writing; the stolen bases will soon follow... My prediction of a 40 percent strikeout rate for Brett Jackson so far looks conservative, what with his toxic 51.4 percent rate at the moment....
And the Pick of the Week goes to the Eric Young Jr. call, as he lit the world on fire in San Fran and forgot to turn it off in a home series versus the Brewers: 12 hits in five games, two homers, a stolen base, and six runs.
Week 15 recommendations Patrick Corbin and Wade LeBlanc did good things pitching baseballs... What's this week got in store?
Travis Snider | Pirates | OF | 5 percent Yahoo ownership | 2.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .299 / .341 / .519
Oliver ROS: .261 / .314 / .426
Snider probably has universal ownership in competitive NL-only leagues. But hey, he's recommended here in case your among the 0.9 percent of ESPN leaguers who inexplicably dropped Snider. He lost nearly a percent on his ownership rates despite pretty numbers as a Pirate: he's hit a homer, stolen a base, driven in five, scored eight times, and hit for a .341 clip in his 41 at-bats. Snider will take the outfield on a near-daily basis, and has 15/10 potential next year according to Oliver.
To name a few with outfield eligibility that I'd ditch for Snider: Gerardo Parra (owned in 6.3 percent of ESPN leagues), Juan Pierre (18.1 percent ESPN), Alexei Amarista (7.2 percent ESPN), Tyler Colvin (11.7 percent ESPN), Bryan LaHair (22.1 percent ESPN), Carlos Quentin (35.2 percent ESPN), and Chris Young (41.7 percent ESPN). Now is the time for a shakeup, and if you own one of the above and Snider is available in your league, make the swap.
Recommendation: Worth an add on most teams for his all-around offensive contributions. Replace Melky Cabrera with him where possible.
Gregor Blanco | Giants | OF | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 2 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .236 / .331 / .346
Oliver ROS: .246 / .337 / .351
More scarcely owned than Snider, Blanco is nonetheless a deplorable NL-only commodity in light of Cabrera's PED suspension. Blanco fizzled after some sizzle to start to the year, but most importantly, provided speed even when his batting average hovered around .220. In May, he stole five bases with a .315 batting clip; in June, he stole eight bases with a .218 clip. So the lesson is: When he gets on-base as a leadoff man (a role he'll have to wrestle from the hot Angel Pagan), he'll run. Nate Schierholtz forced his way out of town, Cabrera is now rendered to nothing, and Blanco slips into an everyday role. His stolen bases can hardly be found in abundance elsewhere, so add Blanco, shoot up the standings if you're within strike, and count your blessings.
Recommendation: Worth an add if eight or so steals and a hefty runs scored total can help your team.
Kameron Loe | Brewers | RP | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.86 ERA / 1.37 WHIP / 7.2 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.64 ERA / 1.17 WHIP / 6.8 K/9
It's a shame Loe is having an off year in high leverage situations, or he might have already assumed ninth-inning duties for your Barnum & Bailey Brewers bullpen.
Everyone who's been given a brief bit of slack on the closer's role has quickly ceded his grip: John Axford blew up too consistently and too extravagantly to hand it back easily, Francisco Rodriguez never once flashed his dominant former self, and Jim Henderson (this year's Axford), survived on deception for less than a week it seems.
So despite Loe's suspect performance in high leverage situations in his career (6.10 FIP), it's hard to imagine he won't get the next save chance after a glorious, unexpected clean ninth inning on Aug. 12. Loe flashed new high leverage chops, generating a ground ball and two strikeouts. Granted, it was against the Astros offense, but he did generate four swinging strikes on his sinker. If he can channel the nastiness in that pitch on an every-night basis, he may just succeed.
Recommendation: Worth a speculative add in case he runs away with the closer's role in Milwaukee.
Fernando Martinez | Astros | OF | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .121 / .121 / .242 (33 at-bats)
Oliver ROS: .243 / .294 / .409 (2012 forecast)
-Former top prospect
-.314/.367/.507 in his healthiest healthy minor league season since 2008 (92 games).
-Reasonably good power
-Playing time for a crappy team is still playing time
-Hardly ever healthy (from our player forecasts on Oliver: "has had severe hamstring strains on both sides, knee surgery, hip strains, and now has arthritic knees at age 23")
-Strikes out a lot
-Has failed to impress in 57 major league games
-Might get depressed playing for Astros
The verdict/recommendation: Why not take a chance on him? Will probably score a good number of runs playing every day, and has flashed new level of power (mid teen level) in Triple-A this year.
Eric Stults | Padres | SP| 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.02 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 4.3 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.25 ERA / 1.31 WHIP / 6.4 K/9
Before I begin with a Stults recommendation, take a look at this hastily made table of the home stats of Padres pitchers with 30+ innings at PETCO Park this year:
Pitcher K/9 K/BB WHIP ERA FIP xFIP Luke Gregerson 8.33 3.22 0.89 1.44 2.2 3.33 Edinson Volquez 8.69 1.79 1.22 3.24 3.29 3.91 Anthony Bass 7.44 2.19 1.28 3.4 3.5 3.66 Clayton Richard 5.05 3.07 1.12 3.05 3.92 3.93 Jason Marquis 8.42 4.25 1.32 3.72 4.03 3.3
What do you notice? Every pitcher found above is worth deploying on any fantasy team in his home starts. Edinson Volquez may own a 5.60 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP on the road... ignore it. Pretend as though you only own him half the time. The newest PETCO product worth owning is ragged old Eric Stults, a minor league journeyman who failed to find a friendly home at Dodger Stadium or Coors Field. In his 200+ major league innings, he's struggled with the very thing PETCO suppresses—the home run ball—surrendering 1.13 per nine innings. His small sample size returns in his home park don't add up—three homers in 19 innings—but Hit Tracker Online confirms that all three homers allowed had "Just Enough" juice to make it into the outfield stands. Stults is like most any past PETCO recommendation: a Quad-A talent level, at best, in an opportune situation.
Recommendation: Worth an add on practically any team: as a home-only stream, he won't blow up your ratio stats and might fetch you a few wins.
Posted by Nick Fleder at 4:23am
Greetings, fellow traveler in fantasy. Since we touched base, Blake Beavan got touched up in his one start (though he has one more opportunity this week to help that him justify my endorsement) and Chris Tillman dropped two decisions, though Scott Feldman pitched well in a tough assignment at Yankee Stadium and Grant Balfour quickly ascended to Oakland’s closer role, so I’ll say I’m shooting par for the week. Once again, we plunge down into the depths of AL leagues to see which players are worth taking a flier on as we head toward fantasy postseason.
Alex Cobb | Tampa Bay Rays | SP | 17 percent Yahoo ownership | 27.8 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 4.08 ERA / 1.262 WHIP / 6.7 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.29 ERA / 1.36 WHIP / 6.8 K/9
I believed in Cobb.
Lured by the prospect of adding a talented young Rays starter to my squad, I picked him up in late May, and watched him promptly sink to a 2-5 record over his next seven starts, with an unsightly 5.32 ERA and just a 6.14 K/9 to show for his work over that span. With roster space a precious commodity, I cut Cobb in early July and chose to move forward.
You can probably guess where this story is going: No sooner did I cut Cobb than he started to turn things around, pitching to the tune of a 4-3 record with a 2.97 ERA, 1.195 WHIP and better than seven K/9 since July 2 (seven starts). Those are pretty solid numbers that more than justify higher ownership percentages in everything resembling an AL-only league—or a mixed league, for that matter—unless, of course, owners feel that Early Cobb is more genuine than Recent Cobb.
Well, I’m here to tell you that yes, Cobb is for real. Why? Because he was never that mediocre to begin with.
Let’s zoom out for a second and look at his season stats: 7-8, 4.08 ERA, 1.262 WHIP, 6.7 K/9. Granted, those numbers won’t include him in Cy Young discussions at the end of the season, but then again, they’re really not so bad, are they? Especially when you take a deeper look, and realize that this 24-year-old has maintained a 58.5 ground ball rate with a 3.28 FIP, 3.60 xFIP and a meager 2.59 BB/9. If you want to be generous, take a look at his 65.9 percent strand rate and you'll realize that, hey, this guy, if anything, is probably getting the shaft with regard to his overall numbers.
Put simply, the seasonal stats more than explain why he’s pitching so well lately: He does the little things correctly, and if he were a better strikeout pitcher, he’d be included among the breakout stars of 2012. Instead, he’s just a workmanlike starter in his first full season who’s receiving just 3.3 runs scored per game started, a figure that ranks him 126th among pitchers with more than 60 innings pitched.
Cobb is solid, and pitches for a team that should give him a legitimate chance to win every time he takes the ball. What more can you ask for from a free agent pickup in mid-August?
Recommendation: Get this guy on your squad in all AL-only leagues, and think about making him a part of your postseason push in deeper mixed leagues.
Manny Machado | Baltimore Orioles | 3B | 52 percent Yahoo ownership; 84.5 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .304 / .304 / .826
Oliver ROS: .247 / .303 / .397
There’s not much to say about Machado that hasn’t been written by, well, pretty much everyone with an opinion/educated point of view, so I’m not going to pretend that I have anything new to say about the Orioles’ third baseman. You should also know that, when it comes to younger players, I like to be aggressive, since every year seems to present a Ryan Braun or Mike Trout who just seems to lock into major league pitching from Day One and bring his fantasy owners along for the glorious ride.
Machado, at least at the outset, looks like he could be one of those players. Although he’s only 20 years old, the former first-round pick slammed two home runs in just his second major league game, and through Wednesday was batting .304/.304/.826 with three home runs in 23 plate appearances. So yes, I think you should pick him up in every seasonal format, AL-only or otherwise, if he’s available and you have the roster space. But I figured I’d sniff around for some possible red flags that could hurt his value in 2012, perhaps a clue or two that might suggest how much we should buy into this guy.
Fortunately, I won’t have to look far for my first exhibit, since THT’s Jeff Moore has already pointed out how Machado, given his first-round status and quick advancement through the minors (928 plate appearances), enters the big leagues as arguably one of the rawest talents in recent memory. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course, but even a great talent like Machado could still take time to adjust.
It’s also not like the AL East is interested in granting Machado a learning curve either, as he’ll have to navigate a web of Yankees and Rays pitchers over the season’s final six weeks, and, for good measure, play six games in Oakland and Seattle, not exactly the most homer-happy ballparks in the country.
Machado fans did receive some good news on Thursday when Wilson Betemit was placed on the DL with a wrist injury, which should clear away his biggest obstacle in securing playing time. And with the Orioles sticking around in the Wild Card race, Buck Showalter is going to have to play every card he’s got—including potential impact bats who entered the season ranked among baseball’s best prospects and didn’t arrive in Baltimore to sit on the bench.
Where does all this leave us? Basically right back where we started—Machado has all the promise in the world, and shouldn’t be left hanging out to dry in anything but the shallowest of mixed formats. But just keep in mind that nothing is certain, and we’re not yet at the point where Machado should be given the keys to a third base slot in fantasy without owners saving a spare player in case he’s not magical out of the gate.
Recommendation: Be happy to have him on your squad, but it never hurts to prepare for a rainy day scenario, right?
Geovany Soto | Texas Rangers | C | 25 percent Yahoo ownership; 10.6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .191 / .275 / .335
Oliver ROS: .236 / .323 / .412
Remember when Soto was good? I only have a vague recollection, though I was fortunate enough to own him in 2008 during his rookie of the year campaign, when he rewarded fantasy owners with a .285/.364/.504 line with 23 home runs and 86 RBIs. Problem is, he’s been mediocre since then, and batted just .199/.284/.347 in 197 plate appearances for the Cubs this year before being shipped over to the Rangers, a fortuitous turn of events for Soto, it would seem, since Mike Napoli just got hurt and now gives the 29-year-old a chance to redeem himself.
Obviously, we’re going to need to see a lot, lot more from Soto before we congratulate him on a return to form. But at least for the moment, take a look at his .214 BABIP, which he’s maintained despite a 22.4 percent line drive rate. If the season were to end today, that would be his best mark since 2010, when he belted 17 home runs and tallied a wRC+ of 135.
Soto isn’t finished yet, even if fantasy owners have every right to look elsewhere for a catcher. The Rangers are scheduled to play a full seven games next week at home, and although Soto will face Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez, both of whom are pitching well, he’ll also have a chance to feast on the very hittable Minnesota pitching staff. That alone should make Soto worth consideration in fantasy again.
Recommendation: Worth picking up in AL-only leagues that use two catchers, and probably worth a flier in single-catcher AL-only leagues.
Miguel Gonzalez | Baltimore Orioles | SP | 8 percent Yahoo ownership; 11.6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.38 ERA / 1.223 WHIP / 6.9 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.91 ERA / 1.38 WHIP / 6.4 K/9
It’s been a journey for Gonzalez, 28, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and has knocked around the minors until coming to Baltimore this year. Thing is, he’s been solid in 2012: The guy had a 1.61 ERA and 10.7 K/9 over six minor league starts, and then joined the Orioles’ rotation for good in July and has an overall big league mark of 5-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.223 WHIP and 6.9 K/9 in eight starts.
With two starts coming up in week 20 (at Texas against Scott Feldman, home against Toronto and Henderson Alvarez), Gonzalez definitely looks like the kind of guy who more than deserves a flier in AL-only leagues. But make sure you realize he has a 86.2 percent strand rate, and features a FIP (4.96) and xFIP (4.83) far above his ERA, and a helpful .253 BABIP to boot. Those stats don’t negate his under-the-radar value—at least not immediately—but they’re sobering reminders that diamonds in the rough are sorta hard to come by at this time of the year. Consider picking up Gonzalez, but be warned—a market correction is in the mail.
Recommendation: Worth picking up in some AL-only and deeper mixed leagues as long as he stays hot.
Posted by Karl de Vries at 4:17am
This is Page 1 of 1 THT Fantasy Focus pages